I BOUGHT HER. I OWN HER. BUT SHE'LL NEVER BE MINE...
A Vampire King…
The moment she stepped on stage, I had to have her in my bed. My submissive, kneeling at my feet.
But this captive virgin is more than what she seems…
A spy in my kingdom. A weapon honed by my enemy. She hates me, but hate is a passion perilously close to love...
A captured queen…
All my life I’ve trained for one purpose. One ultimate goal: kill the Vampire King.
I expected a fight. Pain. Torture. I didn’t expect to want him. My body is a weapon he turns against me.
But I can’t forget my fallen pack. My quest for revenge. My mission is simple:
Seduce him. Earn his trust. Bring him down.
Above all: don’t fall in love.
This stand-alone romance is the twelfth in the bestselling Bad Boy Alpha series. HEA guaranteed, no cheating. This enemies-to-lovers story contains a cool, collected vampire and the she-wolf sent to bring him down. If such material offends you, do not buy this book.
The stage is an old battered platform, transformed by lush red curtains and glaring spotlights. How many Macbeths have died here? How many Hamlets? I wait in the wings, listening to the murmur of the audience. Goosebumps rise up and down my arms.
Relax, my mentor’s voice whispered to me. You’re going to perform splendidly.
I certainly hope so. I’ve trained for this moment my whole life. I’m wearing a strappy silky dress that drapes over my breasts and hips, molding to them with a nod to modesty while leaving my legs bare below mid-thigh. The revealing attire doesn’t bother me, but without weapons I’m naked. Since the age of sixteen, I’ve always had weapons on me. I used to fall asleep cradling my favorite: a wooden stake.
This is your greatest role. Your ultimate performance, my mentor said. If you fail, you pay the ultimate price. His voice deepened. Do not fail me.
I will not fail. After tonight, my life will hang in the balance, but that is nothing new. It always has. I waited and cried and sweat and fought and lived and breathed for this moment. The training demanded all of me, and I have given it my all. Whatever happens after tonight was plotted long ago, my part in the plot custom-made for me. I was born to play this role. Everything in my life has led to this moment.
“Ten-minute warning,” a black clad backstage hand calls. His gaze drifts over me like I’m a part of the set. I raise my chin and meet his gaze, staring until he drops it and scuttles away. I smooth my see-through garment and uncurl my lip. Tonight, I play a submissive part, but not until the curtains rise. I won’t cringe before these cockroaches. I don’t even bow to my mentor. It amuses him, my show of dominance. Or perhaps he thinks my alpha strength will protect me in my final mission. Either way, he allows my cheek. I’d be dead if he didn’t.
Two shadows move in the depths of the stage. I don’t bother glancing back. The guards are there for my protection, and to herd me onto the stage if I get cold feet. Unnecessary. I can’t wait to play this role.
This old theater is long past its use. The air dusty and stale. The green room holds another sour scent that only grows worse when you descend the stairs into the basement filled with cages. My mentor hustled me past them, ordering me to focus on the endgame. A part of me wanted to turn and face the cages, find the ones that were full and break the bars. Free the frightened shifters. In another life, that would be my mission. Maybe it still can be—if I survive.
Will they end up on stage? I asked as we climbed the stairs, escaping those glittering eyes.
Some of them, my mentor answered. Some of them are awaiting pickup. He caught my anger and disgust and leaned close. This is the perversion that Lucius Frangelico allows. When he is gone, we will right this wrong.
It was the perfect thing to say. When I step on stage, all I will think about is the king sitting in the audience. The end of his reign will send shockwaves through his corrupt kingdom.
But first, Lucius Frangelico has to die.
He is here? Right now? I asked Xavier.
On his way, my mentor answered. My spies report he will arrive in time. Once he is seated, we give the signal, and your part will begin.
My fists clench at my sides and I force them to straighten. Time to get into my role. I must perform perfectly, or I won’t survive.
Another figure appears. An older woman emerges from the green room to give me a critical once over. I stand straight and let her study me. I even drop my eyes to the floor, acting like the submissive I’m supposed to be.
My hair is braided and pinned into a crown atop my head. I'm wearing minimal makeup. Enough so the lights don’t wash me out. A hint of eye shadow, mascara, blush. Topped with a bold touch around my mouth. Red, red lipstick. The color of blood and vampire dreams.
You will catch his attention immediately, my mentor purred. He will be pleased. Xavier’s eye swept up and down my half naked form. I told myself his attention was impersonal, clinical, but couldn’t help enjoying the approval glittering in his single eye.
And if he doesn’t take the bait? I asked.
He will. If not tonight, one of my colleagues will purchase you and show you off. Wave you under Frangelico’s nose. It is up to you to catch his attention. Xavier’s large hands closed around my arms, his grip cruel and painful. His fingers left bruises, marks I accepted gratefully. My training didn’t allow for comfort or friendly contact, but it left plenty of marks. I welcomed them like kisses or hugs. Pain became pleasure, and each bruise made me stronger, a honed weapon.
Xavier increased his grip, and I bit back a moan.
Good girl, he said, and my spirits soared. I wasn’t sure if he meant to hurt me until he stepped back and let the makeup artist do her work. When she would have covered the marks with makeup, he ordered her to leave them. They catch the eye. Xavier chucked me under the chin. Remember all I’ve taught you. I’d bowed my head and the one-eyed vampire walked off. The makeup artist shuddered, and I gave her a small smile of solidarity. Big, broad as a wrestler, with the ruined side of his face made barely presentable by an eye patch, Xavier was scary. He’d raised and trained me with unrelenting focus. His methods were brutal and cruel. If he hadn’t given me everything I’d need to avenge my slain pack, I’d hate him.
Maybe I do hate him. In my world, hate is an emotion not so far from love.
The makeup artist gives a brisk nod and walks off, her heels clopping on the scarred stage. Eyes trained on the floor, I can’t escape the signs of shifters—the shed fur, the scrapes on the floor where the guards forced the shifters onto the stage. The shifters who even now wait in the basement, shivering in cages. I can’t save them tonight. Maybe later, if I survive.
There’s a flurry of activity in the wings, and a short bald man in a tux strides onstage, clutching a set of notecards. He flips through them, muttering under his breath. “Lot nine, special goods. She-wolf, trained, untouched. Unblooded.” He glances at me, assessing. I might as well be a piece of meat.
I take a deep breath and get into character. Meek, submissive she-wolf trained to be a vampire’s companion.
Frangelico won’t be able to resist you, Xavier told me as he fastened a white collar around my neck. You’re beautiful. It wasn’t a compliment. In my world, beauty is a weapon. A weapon I was trained to use.
A stage assistant hands the man in the tux a microphone.
“It’s time,” the auctioneer says and flaps his hand at me. I take a deep breath, raise my head, and glide barefoot onto the stage.
“Sire, so good of you to join us.” A bowing vampire greets me as I step out of my limo. My bodyguards block his way until I motion them to step aside.
“I was told this is the place to buy a shifter.” I survey the rundown building, the empty marquee.
“Yes, yes, you are correct.” Dante gives a little laugh and runs to get the door. “The first half of the auction is over, but the remaining lots are sublime, I’m told. The crème de la crème. This way, please…”
I stride past the obsequious vampire. Why did I turn him? All my sired eventually disappoint. It’s my curse.
Groups of well-dressed vampires discreetly watch me pass. I didn’t expect to slip in unnoticed, but the way Dante keeps bobbing alongside me and babbling, I might as well have a spotlight shining on me.
The theater is old but holds its own charm. A glass chandelier glows above my head. The red stage curtains have been brushed recently. But not even the strong cologne and perfume worn by the vampire audience can overpower the scent of shifter fur and fear.
I’ve been told the shifters are willing. Desperate for a protector, they agree to be sold to a vampire with a taste for shifter blood. There certainly are enough of us willing to pay good money for a pet.
“As you can see, our renovations have only begun. We’ve worked to preserve the integrity of the 1920s architecture—” Dante stops his tour abruptly when I lower myself into an aisle seat.
“Sire.” His hands flutter in front of him. “We’ve prepared a seat for you in the middle of the aisle. This row has not been replaced—”
“It is fine,” I nod to my protective detail and they take up stations around the aisle I’ve chosen. Six of the best bodyguards money can buy, their weapons hidden under their suits. They’re the guards people can see. I have more layers of protection than anyone can guess. After a thousand years of assassination attempts, one learns to plan ahead.
Dante hovers close, still trying to get me to move to a larger, newer seat. “These old seats have springs that aren’t very comfortable.”
He’s right, one spring is digging into my backside at this very moment.
“I prefer this seat.” I turn my attention to the empty stage.
Dust motes dance in the too-bright spotlights. The curtains ripple and the room fills with the audience’s expectant murmur.
I stretch out my legs and ignore Dante’s nervous hand fluttering. The fact that the vampire wants me to move hasn’t escaped my notice. He keeps turning and signaling someone in the balcony.
My sired are plotting something. From the pains they took to stage this auction, their plot has been in the works for some time.
No matter. In my long lifetime, I’ve found one coup is much like another.
Theophilus, one of my sired, takes a seat a few rows ahead of me. He turns and bows his head. I tip my own in acknowledgement and beckon him over.
“Sire,” he says when he reaches my side, and bows. “How may I be of service?”
“How many auctions have been held here?”
He glances around the dimly lit room. “A fair amount. I only heard of them a few months ago. This is my third time.”
“And the shifters are willing?”
“As willing as they can be.” He grimaces. “Most are rare species. Without a large clan to protect them, they fall prey to stronger shifters.”
“So, they agree to this?” I wave a hand at the stage. “Is it better to belong to a vampire?”
“I am not a shifter, so I would not know. My guess is a life in servitude is better than no life at all.”
I press my lips together. Most shifters I’ve met would rather be free. After all, they are part wild animal.
“Do you have any further questions about the auction?” Theophilus asks. Of all my sired, he’s the least likely to conspire against me, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t.
“Not at this time.”
“Do you intend to bid, Sire?”
I study Theophilus’ face for a hint of emotion. Interest, hope, anything. “I haven’t decided.” I give him an enigmatic smile.
“You might be surprised. Many of these shifters are naturally submissive. Owning such a powerful creature can be exhilarating.”
“That is something to consider,” I murmur.
“When you live forever, there are so few new pleasures to enjoy.” Theophilus glances at the stage and licks his lips. A blatant show of anticipation.
Perhaps there is nothing nefarious about these auctions. In the long life of a vampire, it’s easy to succumb to boredom. Boredom begets deeper and deeper perversions.
“When you live as long as I have, there are no new pleasures,” I say. “You make do with the old.”
Theophilus bows his head. “With all due respect, consider bidding tonight. Some of the shifters agree to the auction but put up delicious resistance after they’re bought. Subduing them provides months of entertainment, if you draw it out.”
“Months? You surprise me, Theophilus,” I drawl, baiting him. “With patience, an expert can enjoy a victim for years.”
He flushes. “These shifters will not last years. You can’t turn them, after all.”
“As you say,” I pretend to agree. “I suppose the shine wears off after a few weeks. Months, if the victim is special.”
“Shifters are stronger than humans, but no one can withstand a vampire. They all break, in the end.”
“Yes,” I turn my attention back to the stage. “Everyone breaks in the end.” Even vampires.
Minutes pass and I pretend not to notice the audience members studying me. I steeple my fingers. Tonight, I will sit through the auction, feigning interest. In a month I will host a party with a select number of my lieutenants. By then I’ll know which of my sired plotted against me. I already have an idea.
“Ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats. The final part of the auction is about to begin.”
The house lights go down and a ripple of anticipation runs around the room. The curtain parts.
And she appears.
“Lot nine, special goods,” the auctioneer announces.
I stand on the small platform, staring into an ocean of white light. The spotlights blind me before I remember to lower my gaze to the floor. I’m supposed to be submissive. A perfect little pet for a vampire.
“Female, wolf shifter, twenty-two. She has been trained in the submissive arts but…” the auctioneer pauses and lowers his voice. “She’s never been blooded. Never been mounted either. That’s right ladies and gentle vampires… she’s a virgin.”
Do I imagine an excited murmur in the rows beyond the lights? My training kicks in and smooths my features before my lip curls in disgust.
“Turn around, sweetheart, give us a show,” the auctioneer orders.
I pivot dutifully, returning to my resting stance. I bow my head a little.
“Bidding starts at one hundred thousand,” the auctioneer calls. “One hundred thousand for this pure, untouched virgin. Do I have one hundred—yes, there in the back. Gentleman in the red bowtie. Anyone else want to own this fine specimen of shifter beauty? Can I get two—” The bidding goes higher, spurred by the auctioneer’s excited prattle. I squint into the lights. How many people are in the audience? Ten? Twenty? A hundred? Somewhere, perhaps in the balcony, Xavier watches.
It doesn’t matter. I’m only here for one vampire, and one alone. Lucius Frangelico. I need to capture his interest.
I drop my gaze to the stage and try to look meek. What will entice a vampire king to bid on me? I lick my red lips but can’t bring myself to take a sultry pose. Not when I want to punch someone for subjecting shifters to this disgusting event.
My fists itch to clench. I force my shoulders to relax.
This will be over soon.
She’s not submissive.
That’s my first impression of the beautiful she-wolf. She glares at the floor in front of her bare feet. Whenever the auctioneer mentions her virginal status, the corner of her mouth twitches. They dressed her in a soft bit of nothing, a garment closer to a negligee than evening wear. Something silky that begs to be ripped off. She has bruises on her arms—a sign she’s been manhandled—but nothing about her is fragile. She’s tall, tempting, an Amazon with a crown of white gold hair.
Something about her is familiar. She raises her head and shoots a glare into every corner of the theater, and the memory is lost. My body responds, blood rushing to my groin. What would it be like to own such a creature? To tame and master her?
I school my expression into one of boredom. The she-wolf tempts me, that’s all. Something new and amusing to divert my attention for a time. Immortality reduces everything—pleasure and pain—into a temporary diversion. But this she-wolf might make me forget that for a little while.
On top of that, she looks like someone I once knew...
On stage, she licks her painted lips. My slacks grow tighter and my hands knot into fists. My bidding number rests on the floor next to my shoe. Dante must have left it there.
I won’t bid tonight. But it is so tempting.
In the row in front of me, Theophilus clears his throat. “See what I mean, Sire?”
“Yes.” I lean forward to study the she-wolf again. “I do.”
“Five hunret, five hunret, can I get five hunret—” the auctioneer bleats as the bidding runs out of steam. He pauses and scratches his chin. “No? Perhaps you need more incentive.”
He waves to someone offstage and three beefy stagehands march straight towards me.
“What?” I mouth to the auctioneer, but he props elbow on the podium, settling in to watch. The first man reaches me and tugs at my dress’ strap.
“Time to get naked, sweetheart.”
My hand flies up before I can stop it. I push Mouth Breather Number One away from me as his two buddies arrive and clamp down on my arms, right on top of the bruises Xavier left.
“Bitch,” Number One mutters. His beefy hand grabs the straps crossing over my back and tears them away. The garment sags, baring my breasts right as I get one arm free. My training kicks in. I lean left and kick the man on my right in the crotch. He goes down and I jerk, bringing the man on my left off balance. I smash my fist into his face and flip him over my back. He crashes into Number One. I crouch in a fighter’s stance in the center of three downed thugs.
The auctioneer is laughing.
“Ladies and gentlemen, can I get a round of applause for lot nine?” A smattering of golf claps fills the theater. My cheeks heat. I didn’t defend myself as part of some fucking act.
Except it was. Around me, the thugs stir and get to their feet. The auctioneer waves them off and they slouch away.
“Show’s over, folks,” the auctioneer announces. “Who wants to go home with her tonight? Bidding is at five hundred thousand.”
My dress tangles around my hips. I shove it off and kick it away.
“We’ve got a live one! Feisty. Will you be enough to master her? Five hundred and you’ll find out.”
The she-wolf stands naked on stage, her chest heaving. Gone is any semblance of meek servitude. A lock of hair falls out of her braid and she tucks it impatiently away, glaring at everything and nothing.
She is magnificent. If I owned her, what fun I would have while we fought each other for dominance every night.
I’m not the only one who thinks this.
“Damn,” Theophilus breathes. The next time the auctioneer calls for a bid, he raises his paddle. I bite back a snarl.
“Theophilus,” I snap, putting enough compulsion in my voice to make his head snap around. I hold up my hand, palm up. “Give it to me.”
He obeys, but all around me, vampires are bidding for the she-wolf. She stands in a pool of light, not even trying to hide her disgust. What made her agree to be auctioned? She’s doesn’t seem the type.
I beckon to Theophilus. “These shifters. If someone bids on them, do they get a portion of the money?”
Understanding lights his eyes. “No. They’ll become your property. They don’t come with anything. But their family might be compensated.”
That matched the information I was given about the shifter slavers. These men, typically rogue shifters, found hidden shifter clans and offered money for the most submissive in the pack. Threats were also most likely involved. Would this she-wolf allow herself to be a part of such a bargain? Perhaps she agreed if the money went to her family.
I sit back as the bids rage around me. A mystery. I’m becoming more intrigued by the second.
“One million,” someone calls a bid. I turn and look across the aisle. A large vampire wearing an eyepatch looks back at me. Only a lifetime of controlling my emotions keeps me from showing my surprise.
Xavier. What’s he doing here? Our paths haven’t crossed for decades. Maybe a century. He inclines his head in mocking acknowledgement. The last time we met, we were enemies.
There’s quiet as the auctioneer and audience absorb his bid. Onstage, the she-wolf trembles as if she remembers why she’s here.
And I remember who the wolf reminds me of. Her face becomes another, a waifish imp with a cloud of white gold hair. My first vampire lover. The only woman, perhaps, I ever loved. Georgianna.
Xavier’s fangs glint at me from across the aisle. He never forgave me for taking Georgianna from him, and now he would snatch this wolf right from under my nose.
This one’s mine, his gloating face seems to say. Poor she-wolf. Xavier always broke his toys. If not for fun, then to prevent anyone else from enjoying them.
My fingers clench on the bidding paddle. This whole auction, Xavier’s appearance, the she-wolf who looks like Georgianna’s ghost come to life—it’s a ploy. A set up. It has to be. It’s too convenient.
Somebody’s up to something. If my sired have thrown their lots in with Xavier, then they have rebelled past the point of forgiveness. Their lives are over.
But if all of this is Xavier acting alone, then it might be interesting to play the game. Save the she-wolf. Parade her before my court and draw Xavier into my net.
What is the saying? Keep your friends close… and your enemies closer.
Oh yes. These next few weeks will be very entertaining. I lean back in my seat and raise my paddle.
Blood rushes to my head. That was Xavier’s voice. He’s bidding on me? Why?
I clench my hands in front of me, controlling my shudder. Have I failed? I can’t fail. There’s nothing left for me but the road ahead. The mission to entice Frangelico.
The silence stretches on and my nerves are screaming. Xavier doesn’t like failure. That’s a lesson I’ve learned over and over again. Pain is a great teacher. I’m strong enough to withstand it, but if I fail at this, I don’t know—
A deep voice breaks the stillness. “Ten million.”
A hush falls over the entire theater, every creature, me included, holding our breath.
The auctioneer looks like he can’t believe his luck. “T-ten million.” He mops his forehead and glances around the theater, biting his lip. I wait for him to raise the bid, but the staggering jump from one to ten million left him tongue-tied.
He raps his gavel and shouts. “Sold! To the gentleman with the deepest pockets. Vampire King Lucius Frangelico.”
My ears ring. I stoop and gather up the pieces of the ripped dress. It worked. It worked! He bought me.
In a few minutes I’ll be in the clutches of my new vampire master. Everything is going as planned.
The curtain sweeps across the stage, and I’m left blinking in the dark.
The auctioneer announces something about a break and walks off stage. Once he’s in the wings, he beckons me to follow.
“Good girl.” He rubs his hands together, probably imagining holding ten million dollars in his fat grubby fingers. I close my eyes, dizzy. What sort of vampire pays ten million for a wolf pet? What will he do with me?
It doesn’t matter. It will all be over soon. Any bit of unpleasantness in the meantime, well, I’ve been trained to take a lot of pain.
Four guards march up and surround me. They don’t touch me, so I don’t make a fuss. Beyond them, the thugs who manhandled me lurk in the murky shadows. One has an ice pack to his face. The one who’s crotch I hit is gone. The one left glowers at me but doesn’t get close. They won’t dare touch me now. I belong to the Vampire King. The thought hits me like a blow and makes me sway on my feet.
A young, slender man appears at my elbow. I turn and avert my eyes when I catch his scent. Not human. Vampire.
“His Majesty would like you to put this on.” The young man holds up a suit jacket for me to slip into. I hand off my ripped dress to a guard and let the oversized jacket envelop me. The sleeves hang over my wrists and cover my legs to mid-thigh. I’ve worn dresses that are less modest. I wore one tonight.
“His Majesty will collect you soon. Do you need anything? Food, some water?”
Shoes would be nice, but I shake my head. I tuck my face into the collar of the jacket and inhale the subtle, expensive cologne clinging to the fabric. The cologne doesn’t hide the familiar cold stone scent. This jacket was recently worn by a vampire.
“This way.” The auctioneer leads us into the green room.
The youthful vampire wrinkles his nose. “Do you expect the king to come back here? It’s a dump.” When the auctioneer grovels and denies that he would ever wish the great Frangelico to sully his shoes by stepping into this room, the young vampire growls, “Then find us a better place to wait. This is the king’s property.” He waves a hand at me. “The respect you show her is the respect you show the king.”
That’s how we end up in another room, smelling of fresh paint and filled with new furniture. It’s upstairs. The young vampire fusses over me, finding me a bottle of water, and bemoaning my lack of shoes.
I tune everything out. Nothing matters until I meet Frangelico.
My new master.
No. He will never own me. He will think I belong to him. By the time he learns the truth, it will be too late.
I face the door and wait for the target to enter. Lucius Frangelico, the face that haunts me. The source of all my nightmares. The vampire who killed my pack and made me an orphan. If it wasn’t for Xavier, I’d be dead. I owe him everything. And the debt will never be repaid. Xavier gave me life, but he also gave me a reason to live. Years of training and planning, culminating in a single mission. Revenge.
And now I’ve been sold to the Vampire King. I will infiltrate his private home, let him bring me to his sleeping lair. Earn his trust. Wait until the moment is right.
All my life I’ve been waiting for this. All my training, all my hard work for one goal.
I’m going to kill Lucius Frangelico.
USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR RENEE ROSE is a naughty wordsmith who writes kinky BDSM novels. Named Eroticon USA's Next Top Erotic Author in 2013, she has also won The Romance Reviews Best Historical Romance, and Spanking Romance Reviews' Best Sci-fi, Paranormal, Historical, Erotic, Ageplay and favorite couple and author. She's hit #1 on Amazon in multiple categories in the U.S. and U.K., is often found on the list of Amazon's Top Author list. She also pens BDSM stories under the name Darling Adams.
Lee Savino has grandiose goals but most days can’t find her wallet or her keys so she just stays at home and writes. While she was studying creative writing at Hollins University, her first manuscript won the Hollins Fiction Prize.
She lives in Richmond, Va with her awesome family> You can find her on Facebook in the Goddess Group (which you totally should join).